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Happy International Science Day to Super Science Steministas

Hey to all the curious innovation seekers, your journey towards achieving greatness has already started, but the way which has to be paved won’t be easy, but who says great things come easy!!! You are meant for reaching brilliance and showing to the world the strength you possess, not someone to be bogged down by the social barriers and unnecessary limitations set by the society.

Throughout the history, ladies and black ladies per se, have had to face discrimination especially in the STEM fields, which till date continues to be slightly more male dominated, due to various reasons, be it lack of proper educational opportunities, cultural, socio-economic factors, etc. But, many have risen to the top, overcoming odds and various adversities to mark their name.

I am sure you would have heard about NASA or Harvard and many of you would even aspire to be there too, or let’s diverge about the sickle disease or the cataract problem, many of you would dream about solving these issues and many more such issues, to help the society at large and that’s amazing. But, do you know who is Rediet Adebe or Claudia Alexander or Mae Jemison or Mary Logan Reddick…. maybe yes maybe no, so girls go ahead and read about your rich history…. It goes on to show that the ladies of color are no less than anybody and have carved a niche for themselves, and now the legacy lies on your shoulders to carry the flame ahead, so that the world knows your capability!!!

“Science literacy is not about being able to solve all the equations or being able to come up with Einstein theory of relativity; it's about figuring out how science impacts your world every day.” Mae C. Jemison

So today let’s see in brief about a highly inspirational, multi-faceted, enterprising and a talented lady-

Mae Jemison:

#MaeJemison holds the title of being the first ever #AfricanAmerican astronaut to fly into space, aboard #NASA’s endeavor shuttle…isn’t that amazing!!!

She holds the distinction of being the first African American astronaut, lo and behold girls, not only an astronaut, but also a trained physician…phew, that’s a lot, isn’t it?

She became the first such woman to be enrolled into NASA’s astronaut training program. Finally, all this culminated into her zooming away into space on 12th September, 1992, along-with six other astronauts, aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, therefore, becoming the first ever African American woman to fly in space, and simultaneously breaking the stereotypical norms.

“Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”- Jemison

Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama on October 17, 1956. She was the youngest child of Dorothy (Green) Jemison, an elementary school teacher and Charlie Jemison, carpenter and a roofer. Despite coming from a modest background, her parents encouraged her to pursue her interests in science, especially astronomy. While in school she had decided to pursue a profession in biomedical engineering; whilst working towards her goal, and being consistent she was offered a National Achievement scholarship by the prestigious Stanford University.

From her school days, she had been an active participant in extra-curricular activities, was an avid and a talented dancer and had interests in theatre productions too, a true example of beauty with brains. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the university in 1977, she subsequently enrolled herself in the Cornell University’s Medical school and expanded her skills set, as well as, reflected her humane side when she worked at Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand.

She initially practiced as a general practitioner after interning at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center after completion of her degree in 1981. Following that after two and half years, she was appointed as the area Peace Corps medical officer for Liberia and Sierra Leone where she was involved in teaching and pursued medical research.

Nurturing her dream- Upon returning back to her homeland in 1985, she planned to pursue her inner ambition, i.e. of becoming an astronaut, this meant changing a stable career she had till now, but nonetheless, she applied for NASA’s astronaut training program, and as they say, rest is all history…..because of the Challenger disaster in 1986, the selection process got delayed, but she was still selected in the top 15 candidates, from a pool of about 2000 applicants.

Flight to success- After being inducted into the NASA astronaut training program on June 4th, 1987, she held the distinction of being the first African American to do so. After completing a little more than one year of required training, she was appointed as a science mission specialist, which involved her being in-charge of conducting scientific experiments which were supposed to be crew-related, while on the space shuttle. Her journey on becoming the first African American woman in space was finally realized on September 12th 1992, when the Endeavour on mission STS47 took off to fly.

During her entire stay in space of 8 days….doesn’t t sound amazing!!!! She had conducted experiments on weightlessness, and motion sickness of the crew; after spending around 190 hours in the space, she rightly commented that, the society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.

Awards and Recognition- Undoubtedly, a woman so capable and deserving had to receive recognition for her efforts and work done, here’s a look at some;

1. Essence Science and Technology Award-1988

2. Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year in 1990

3. Ebony Black Achievement Award-1992/ Mae C. Jemison Academy, an alternative public school in Detroit, was named after her

She also has been a member of many respectable organizations like, The American Medical Association, the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science

4. Amongst Board of Directors from 1990-1992 for the World Sickle Foundation

5. Served as an honorary board member for the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition.

Post NASA – After having a highly distinguished career graph, she established The Jemison Group Inc., a specialized consulting firm focused on socio-cultural impact of technological advancements and design. She was a professor for environmental studies at the famous Dartmouth College, founded BioSentient Corp in 1999…wait the list doesn’t end here…she authored a book on her journey to inspire children Find Where the Wind Goes (2001) ….and finally neither last nor the least, who doesn’t know about the StarTrek, I'm sure many of you would have watched it too, so there might be a fair chance of many of you seeing her in there, wherein she became the first astronaut to appear on the show.

So, as you all future explorers can see, limitation is what we have in mind and this was proven by a short look we have had over Mae’s life, undoubtedly she is multifaceted, multi talented, awe inspiring yet humble, at all times. She gives everyone an inspiration to follow their spark and rise to the top, come what the situation be and open doors, even when there aren’t any…so don’t wait now, just create your own journey and show the world your mettle.

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